GAZA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian official spoke highly of the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, hoping it would be "a golden chance" for the Palestinians to strengthen their relations with China.
The eagerly awaited Hangzhou Asian Games kicked off on Saturday, with the opening ceremony drawing global attention. The Games run through October 8.
During the opening ceremony, an unprecedented digital cauldron-lighting ceremony was held, in which millions of torchbearers transformed the digital flames into a digital human figure on the Qiantang River before igniting the cauldron together with swimming Olympic champion Wang Shun, the last of six athletes who relayed the actual flame within the stadium.
"The opening ceremony was very impressive and combined authenticity, history, and technological development in lighting the digital flame," said Mohammed al-Amsi, assistant secretary-general of the Palestinian Olympic Committee.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Al-Amsi said, "The lighting of the flame and the opening ceremony were extremely successful, establishing a very high level of wonderful and tremendous organization, which comes for the third time after Beijing and Guangzhou."
The official stated that Palestinians "are so proud to be part of such an important international event, which is being held for the third time in China, a country that strongly embraces Palestine."
"More than 100 Palestinian athletes are now in China, and it would be a golden opportunity for us to strengthen our relations with China, which holds a special status in Palestine," Al-Amsi added.
According to Al-Amsi, over the years, China has provided financial and logistical support to Palestinian sports by adopting sports projects aimed at improving the athletes' skills and developing local stadiums in the Palestinian territories.
Al-Amsi, who had visited China as the head of the Palestinian delegation during the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, explained that the warm reception and high spirits with which the Palestinian delegation was met in the sessions organized by China indicate the strength of Palestinian-Chinese relations.
He pointed out that officials in the Palestinian Olympic Committee are continuously in communication with the delegation present in Hangzhou. "There is a significant number of them visiting China for the first time, and they have experienced the level of development, performance, and high organization to which we are accustomed."
Al-Amsi said that the delegation members were "happy to be in the wonderful city of Hangzhou, where they witnessed an unparalleled reception."
Palestinian athletes aspire to win many medals and make a clear mark in this tournament, he said. ■